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The amazing winning run continues.

1-0 win over San Antonio. Late though with goal at 87 mins.

Musa bought on as a sub at 43 mins.

19 wins on the bounce!

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Back in starting lineup and full game in a 1-0 win at Las Vegas Lights.

Juggernaut rolls on. Twenty consecutive wins!

Phoenix 18 points clear and GD of +48.

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Full game in a 4-1 win over LA Galaxy II.

Phoenix 21 points clear, GD of +51, and 21 wins on the trot.

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The winning streak is over!

Rising can’t make it 22 wins, as they lose 2-1 at 3rd placed Fresno.

Looks like Phoenix botched 1, maybe 2 pens late on.

Full game for Musa.

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https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/football/116047245/a...

Musa's two-year contract expires at the end of the current season, and although he is focussed on finishing the campaign with Rising, especially after the team fell short in the final 12 months ago, he has made no secret of his desire to return to the A-League in the future.

He started his professional career at Wellington Phoenix and feels like he has a point to prove to the club after playing only three games during the 2010-11 season before moving on.

Given the Phoenix's eagerness to sign New Zealand players again, there could be an opening for Musa who will be a free agent in January unless he signs elsewhere.

But he should have no shortage of options given he currently holds an English passport and a US green card, giving him domestic status in Europe and North America.

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Unfortunately Musa's Phoenix can't make it 4 wins from 4, re Kiwis playing in the USL today.

A 2-2 draw against New Mexico, after last week's first loss in 22 games.

Full game for Musa.

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Stays on the bench in a 5-3 win at Cameron Knowles Portland II.

Timbers II had player sent off at 66 mins. Was 3-1 to Phoenix at that stage.

Rising now lead Western Conference table by whopping 20 points, with a +52. 

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Wheels have fallen off somewhat! 2 losses in last 4 games.

This time 1-2 at home to Real Monarchs (RSL feeder team).

Monarchs (4th in the West) with the winner at 93 mins.

Both teams had a player sent off at 89 mins.

Phoenix still lead Western Conference by 18 points.

Musa a full game and a yellow.

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10 mins off the bench in a 3-1 win over OKC Energy to finish USL regular season.

Other teams play tomorrow, but Phoenix will top Western Conference by a likely 18 points.

Conference quarterfinals start next week, with straight knockouts. Bit rough on the Rising, topping Conference so easily but no real reward apart from hosting rights through the playoffs.

Bottom seeded team (from teams 7-10) they play next weekend will also have to play midweek, in a 'Play In' round, to grab the last QF Conference spots, ie top ten teams make playoffs, not top eight - which seems a bit dumb.

https://www.uslchampionship.com/news_article/show/978703

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On the bench as runaway Western Conference winner Rising, host Austin Bold (8th) in knock out QF.

Austin beat LA Galaxy II by 2-0 midweek in the 'play in' round.

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coochiee wrote:

On the bench as runaway Western Conference winner Rising, host Austin Bold (8th) in knock out QF.

Austin beat LA Galaxy II by 2-0 midweek in the 'play in' round.

Heart stopping playoff football.

Rising beat Austin 7-6 on pens. Finished 0-0 after ET. 

Rising finished 30 points ahead of Austin in the regular season!  Still could have been knocked out today.

Musa not required off the bench. 

https://twitter.com/phxrisingfc

Next up host Real Monarchs SLC (6-2 winners over Orange County) in a Western Conference semi final.

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Again on the bench as Rising host Real Monarchs in their semi final.

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coochiee wrote:

Again on the bench as Rising host Real Monarchs in their semi final.

Harsh reality of knock out playoff football.

Rising lose 1-2 to Real Monarchs (USL affiliate of Real Salt Lake, also based in Utah) and it's season over.

RSL were knocked out of the MLS playoffs last week, so wonder if the Monarchs had the benefit of a few MLS squaddies this week.

In regular season Phoenix finished 22 points ahead of the Monarchs.

Musa not required off the bench. No USL title for him again, after being at teams that made the final in previous two seasons.

Be interesting to see what he does from here. Hard to see any MLS teams seriously looking at him, if he can't crack the starting eleven at a USL club (admittedly a strong one) come business end of the season.

All the Kiwis now finished up Stateside in 2019.

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As noted by RR in the 'Nix Transfer Speculation' thread.

https://twitter.com/ByPhillipRollo/status/1211843337268805632?s=19

Bit of a shame as the more Kiwis the better, but with the emergence of Devlin, Nix now have good depth at DM.

Be a nice surprise if Musa got a MLS gig - having been let go by his former USL side.

Any MLS signing would rule him out of a return to the AWs in the March window.

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He wasn't let go by Phoenix Rising, was his call to move on.

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Aguero wrote:

He wasn't let go by Phoenix Rising, was his call to move on.

Okay fair enough. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/B4oL7e2jcPG/

Would seem against the odds to pick up a MLS contract, after being consigned to the bench in later stages of Rising's season playing a level down.

But good luck to him. Having 'local' player (Green Card?) status will definitely help.

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Joining Boxall & Billingsley at Minnesota?

#Minneapolisiskiwiasbro

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Minnesota reddit seems to be very happy with the pick-up. Heavily experienced at USL (Championship) level, so deserves a fair crack at the MLS. Versatile and proven, has a good head on his shoulders and seems calm and composed under pressure. Let's hope the step up goes well for him. Good luck!

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Sounds like the green card is the big deal. Good luck to him. 

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Good luck to him. At age 27, a little bit of now or never at that higher level.

Versatility will help trying to crack the bench at least.

Some injuries and who knows. Having 2 other Kiwis at the club can only help.

And of course from an AWs perspective the more players at a higher level, the better. Signing will however rule him out of a possible return to national team for any March friendlies. Imagine none of MLS contingent would be available then.

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coochiee wrote:

Good luck to him. At age 27, a little bit of now or never at that higher level.

Versatility will help trying to crack the bench at least.

Some injuries and who knows. Having 2 other Kiwis at the club can only help.

And of course from an AWs perspective the more players at a higher level, the better. Signing will however rule him out of a possible return to national team for any March friendlies. Imagine none of MLS contingent would be available then.

It's an international window, and probably the last chance for the All Whites to play non-Oceania opposition before June 2021, if not September 2021 (as well as potentially the first/only chance for Musa to show Danny Hay what he's got). Players will make themselves unavailable at their peril.

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Judgement call I guess for each individual player. 

If come June 2021, or even end of this year Musa is a MLS regular would be hard for Hay to ignore him.

He would probably only be an AWs squad member though. Neither starting CB or DM.

Now going into an important pre season at Minnesota, at age 27 he may have his sole career opportunity remaining to play at a higher level than say USL. 

Tough call to make, but Minnesota pay his wages not NZF.

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Lucky break – Minnesota don't play during the March window, for whatever reason.

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Lucky break – Minnesota don't play during the March window, for whatever reason.

Even so he will be at a new club, trying to make an impression, and MLS season will only be about 4 games in.

Couldn't really blame him if he focused on his club career come March window. Of course all hypothetical without any AWs games announced as yet.

If Hay was really serious on Musa, he should have picked him for the November - Ireland/Lithuania games.

Don't remember any news that Musa made himself unavailable. He played his last USL game for Phoenix Rising, 1st Nov and AWs played Ireland 14th Nov.

Why would you bother taking Weemac to Europe for example, a guy you can watch every weekend in the A League, and sadly as we all can see a guy who's career is tailing away badly. Why bother. Just fly to Gosford and watch him up close at a CCM training. Have a look at Stensness why you are at it. Sort of thing Buckingham would do.

It would be very harsh, if Hay got upset with Musa (or anyone in similar circumstances) who made themselves unavailable for any March fixtures.

Can Mods please update Musa to Minnesota United. Good luck to him.

Getting paid to be here
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coochiee wrote:

Lucky break – Minnesota don't play during the March window, for whatever reason.

Even so he will be at a new club, trying to make an impression, and MLS season will only be about 4 games in.

Couldn't really blame him if he focused on his club career come March window. Of course all hypothetical without any AWs games announced as yet.

If Hay was really serious on Musa, he should have picked him for the November - Ireland/Lithuania games.

Don't remember any news that Musa made himself unavailable. He played his last USL game for Phoenix Rising, 1st Nov and AWs played Ireland 14th Nov.

Why would you bother taking Weemac to Europe for example, a guy you can watch every weekend in the A League, and sadly as we all can see a guy who's career is tailing away badly. Why bother. Just fly to Gosford and watch him up close at a CCM training. Have a look at Stensness why you are at it. Sort of thing Buckingham would do.

It would be very harsh, if Hay got upset with Musa (or anyone in similar circumstances) who made themselves unavailable for any March fixtures.

Can Mods please update Musa to Minnesota United. Good luck to him.

Makes sense to show respect to an established player like McGlinchey in the first instance and give them a chance to stay involved – which is what Hay said the window was all about. Same with Alex Rufer and Matt Ridenton, who have already held down first-team places at a higher level than Musa. Hay picks Bell and Rufer, and then he's already got his two 6s, so Musa and Stensness have to wait.

Musa might even find himself behind Stensness in March, though he has talked about playing as an 8 and there aren't exactly a lot of players screaming out 'pick me!' there.

One thing in November was that Phoenix Rising appeared to be headed towards the USL finals, which were around November 14, and a squad had to be settled on by October 25 or so, but then they crashed out.

Only time MLS guys have not come when called upon during the season going back to the start of Anthony Hudson's time in charge was when Fritz Schmid came in and took a softly, softly approach.

Note a nine-day window is different to the Nations Cup – a three-week commitment. Will be interesting to see if Noah Billingsley ends up involved there.

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Gets his first start and a full game, but is not a happy affair for him or his Kiwi team mate Boxall snr who also goes full 90.

A 3-0 drubbing in Houston.

4th loss in a row for Minnestota. They have lost their first choice keeper since Orlando tourney, and I'd say that's contributing to defence looking shaky. Also Boxall's regular CB partner from last season Opara, hasn't played since March & Covid. Might have signed elsewhere?

Anyway hopefully Musa (no 41) can keep his starting spot. Played as a CB alongside M Boxall.

https://www.mlssoccer.com/post/2020/09/02/highlights-houston-dynamo-vs-minnesota-united-fc-september-2-2020?autoplay=true

No Kyle Adams for Houston, who are travelling pretty well. Without some injuries Adams might spend the whole back in USL with RGV.

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Gets another start this time in midfield, as Minnesota travel to Kansas. Boxall snr also starting. 

Boxall snr also starting. But unfortunately no Reid for SKC. Listed as injured.

Top of the table clash re Western Conference.

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coochiee wrote:

Gets another start this time in midfield, as Minnesota travel to Kansas. 

Boxall snr also starting. But unfortunately no Reid for SKC. Listed as injured.

Top of the table clash re Western Conference.

SKC won 1-0. Full game Boxall (no 15), and Musa (no 41) one of 3 HT subs. I guess Minnesota coach not so happy mid game. Score still 0-0 at that stage. 

Hopefully Musa can get a few more starts. This might be a now or never season for him at MLS level anyway. Age 28.

https://www.mlssoccer.com/post/2020/09/13/highligh...

SKC go top, Minnesota 3rd in the West.

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Put this story here for no other reason than Musa previously played at Phoenix Rising, and yes they do have a number of Jamacian players.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/football/world-game/...

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Musa's old USL club Phoenix Rising (part owned Didier Drogba) made their 2nd USL final (2018 & 2020) in 3 years.

Should have made final last year as well, after winning Western Conference huge 18 points clear in top spot. Lost in the quarters.

Unfortunately this year's final against Tama Bay Rowdies, has been cancelled. Season concludes with the two clubs as USL Conference (East & West) winners.

Phoenix would have been hoping this was finally their year after being such a dominant force in the USL, last 3 years. Wasn't to be.

https://www.uslchampionship.com/news_article/show/...

"USL Championship Final Cancelled, Season Concludes with Tampa Bay, Phoenix as Conference Title-Winners

The United Soccer League announced today that the 2020 USL Championship Final scheduled for Sunday, November 1 will not be played.

The decision has been made for the health and safety of everyone involved after multiple persons on the Tampa Bay Rowdies covered persons list tested positive for COVID-19 upon a second round of rapid testing on Saturday morning at the Tampa Bay Rays’ medical facilities. The affected individuals have been immediately isolated at home, are recovering in good spirits under the care of team physicians and infectious disease experts, and all league, local and state health and wellness protocols continue to be followed.

USL HQ, in collaboration with the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Phoenix Rising FC, has therefore made the determination that the season will conclude after Tampa Bay and Phoenix each progressed through their conference playoffs to win the Eastern Conference and Western Conference titles, respectively, last Saturday." 

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From this week’s Flying Kiwis. Now a free agent


“Mixed news for the Loons trio. Michael Boxall was already under contract so no dramas there. Noah Billingsley has had his contract option picked up for next season. James Musa, on the other hand, has had his contract option declined. The Moose played six times for Minny this year (two starts, four subs, 155 total minutes) in his return to the MLS level but was left out of the squad for all their playoff games. Just didn’t quite catch on there so now we wait to see what’s next for him.”

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From Flying Kiwis. Can Mods please update Musa's club to Phoenix Rising.

"Arizona Sports: “Center back James Musa will be returning to Phoenix Rising for the 2021 USL Championship season, a source tells Arizona Sports. The New Zealand international spent the 2020 campaign with MLS side Minnesota United FC, but the club declined to pick up his option in December. He only made five appearances in his lone season in Minnesota, two of which were starts. But Musa is no stranger to Phoenix Rising or manager Rick Schantz. In his two years in a PRFC kit from 2018-19, Musa made 55 appearances (45 starts) in the team’s 76 matches in all competitions.”

Nice. It’s a drop back to the USL for the 29 year old after his season in the MLS but it’s also an opportunity to play regular minutes again. The last time he was with Phoenix he was the second string defensive midfielder behind Jamaican Kevon Lambert (although still got games while he was away on Gold Cup international duty) but now it appears he’s being brought in as a centre-back... which means he’ll be playing alongside his All Whites teammate Deklan Wynne who himself has also made a step down in levels after in his case not playing at all for Colorado in 2020. Gotta do what you gotta do. Phoenix Rising are typically one of the strongest clubs in this division.

Up Next: Preseason starts this weekend"

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Interesting interview on Kiwi football fix
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5NHR0IqxKc
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Full game and a yellow in a 4-1 win over San Diego Loyal, as USL season starts.
No Wynne or Billingsley in match day squad.
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Seems a good guy from that podcast and reading between the lines wanted to come to the nix but was not wanted 
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AucklandPhoenix
Seems a good guy from that podcast and reading between the lines wanted to come to the nix but was not wanted 

Not so sure he's that serious about a return to NZ. To me it seems he was just happy to go along with that for the interview (a pretty average one to be fair). He's got a Green Card, American fiancé, and 30 odd pro USL teams to play for, if it doesn't work out at the Rising.

Comes to the Nix, NZ's only pro team, and it doesn't work out then it's likely uprooting again back to Stateside. He got a few chances with Minnesota near the end of the last MLS season, and from match highlights I saw he failed to impress. Making a few errors leading to opposition goals.

What may influence fringe AWs like him & Wynne, is if AWs draw say a CONCACAF or AFC team for the June 2022 intercontinental playoffs. If that happens then you know you have a real shot at going to Qatar, if you can crack a 23 man AWs squad. But harder to impress Hay from the pretty obscure USL, than playing under his nose in the A League.

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